Dactinomycin (Injection)

Introduction

Dactinomycin (dak-tin-oh-MYE-sin)

Treats several different types of cancer. This medicine may be used alone or combined with other medicines.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Cosmegen

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to dactinomycin, or if you are pregnant. You should not receive this medicine if you have chickenpox or shingles (herpes zoster).

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • You may also receive medicines to help prevent nausea and vomiting.
  • Do not get this medicine on your skin or in your eyes. This medicine can be very harmful if it comes into contact with these areas, or if any medicine leaks out of the IV needle. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel any burning, pain, redness, blistering, or swelling while you are receiving this medicine.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also receiving any other treatments for cancer, including radiation.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breast feeding, if you have kidney or liver disease. Tell your doctor if you have ever been treated with radiation. Your doctor should know if you have recently been exposed to chickenpox or herpes.
  • This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • This medicine may increase your risk of having other tumors. Talk with your doctor about this if you have concerns.
  • Some of the side effects of dactinomycin may not happen until a few days after you stop using the medicine.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Diarrhea, uncontrollable nausea or vomiting.
  • Burning, pain, redness, swelling, blistering, or skin changes where the needle is placed.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Painful sores or white patches in your mouth or throat.
  • Pain in your upper stomach.
  • Severe swelling, redness, or peeling skin on your hands or feet.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Loss of appetite, mild nausea and vomiting.
  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Hair loss, changes in skin color, mild skin rash or itching.
  • Trouble swallowing.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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